Star Trek actor Karl Urban claims that Quentin Tarantino wants his interpretation of the iconic science fiction franchise to be an R-rated affair. Currently, the status of the Star Trek movie franchise is somewhat unclear, with two separate projects reportedly in the works. One of these is a straightforward fourth entry in the Kelvin timeline following on from Star Trek Beyond. Although this movie appears to be furthest along in its development, with S. J. Clarkson set to direct, it remains unclear as to whether Chris Hemsworth will be reprising his role as George Kirk, as originally suggested. More recent reports have suggested that Star Trek 4 could lose another Chris in the form of lead actor Chris Pine, who plays Captain James T. Kirk, and many have since stated that a Trek movie simply couldn't work without its main protagonist.
The second Star Trek project in the pipeline is one pitched by legendary director, Quentin Tarantino. News of Tarantino potentially taking the helm of a Trek movie first surfaced late last year and immediately sparked a positive reaction from fans eager to see a different interpretation of the franchise. However, firm details surrounding the project are very thin on the ground and there's still no official confirmation that the movie is definitely happening. Predictably, one of the most frequent questions asked about Tarantino's Star Trek is whether or not it will have the same R-rated style as the director's other works, with Tarantino widely known for his hyper-violent and mature visuals - a tone rarely seen in the world of Star Trek.
Although some of the current Star Trek cast have already expressed their desire for Tarantino's version to be R-rated, the director himself is now confirmed to be of a similar mind, according to actor Karl Urban. Speaking at last weekend's Trekonderoga (via TrekMovie), Urban stated:
"Quentin Tarantino went in to J.J. [Abrams]’s offices and pitched him an idea for a Star Trek movie. I know a little bit about what that is and it’s bananas... You shouldn’t worry that it is going to be full of obscenity and stuff. He wants an R-rating to really make those beats of consequence land. If it’s not PG, if someone gets sucked out into space, which we have all seen before, we might see them get disemboweled first… It allows some some breadth… gives him some leeway to do that. To me, that was always one of the things I loved about what DeForest Kelley did. He would actually capture the horror of space. That look in his eyes of sheer terror always struck me when I was a kid."
It certainly seems as if an R-rating is what both the fans and those involved in the franchise are hoping for and the fact that Tarantino himself is seeking the same thing makes a mature Trek movie all the more likely. It seems implausible that Paramount and Bad Robot (Abrams' production company) would press ahead with an idea from a director renowned for "obscenity and stuff" and then expect him to curb his established style for a family audience. Fortunately, the recent success of Logan and Deadpool has shown that putting an R-rated spin on a genre that usually caters for younger viewers doesn't negatively impact box office or critical success.
The tantalizing prospect of an R-rated Star Trek movie, and one directed by Quentin Tarantino no less, has somewhat put Star Trek 4 in the shade. With Star Trek Beyond seeing a decline in revenue for the Kelvin movie series, it could be argued that fans are ready for a bloodier take on Star Trek now, rather than one movie down the line. This will prove especially true if Star Trek 4 loses its 'Chris factor' and although Tarantino's schedule means he won't be available to direct Trek for a few years yet, it remains by far the more highly anticipated enterprise in the pipeline.
Star Trek 4 is currently without a release date. More news as it arrives.